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Hotel at Grand Park could be six stories with up to 225 beds

September 18, 2015

A proposed hotel at Grand Park could be as tall as six stories and have up to 225 beds.

In a request for proposals—issued in June and recently shared with the IBJ—the city outlined its vision for what it refers to as a “lodging solution” on 5.26 acres of city-owned property immediately to the west of the future indoor soccer facility on 191st Street.

The city suggested a hotel with up to six floors and 150-225 beds, possibly arranged as a dormitory with shared common areas for suites. The facility would also include a front desk, mail room, kitchenette or breakfast area, lounge, laundry operations, pool, exercise room, office area and parking.

Todd Burtron, chief of staff for Westfield, said the city received six responses to the RFP, including one from Greenwood-based Jonathan Byrd’s. None of the proposals has been made public because the city has not formally rejected or accepted any yet.

But Burtron said the city has been primarily negotiating with Jonathan Byrd’s, which outlined plans for a 180-room hotel under an independent brand.

“We didn’t know who we would receive responses from,” Burtron said. “We were pleasantly surprised.”

Jonathan Byrd’s already has made big bets on Grand Park. In July, it secured the naming rights for the 87,000-square-foot basketball and volleyball facility that is expected to open in January. The 10-year deal also includes concession-stand management and space for a food court near the front of the building.

The 370,000-square-foot indoor soccer facility will also have food service provided by the catering company.

“They’re putting some real capital in Westfield,” Burtron said.

In addition to its widely known catering business, Jonathan Byrd's has a company branch based in Goodyear, Arizona, that operates hotels.

The proposals were required to include a breakdown of room configurations, and the city suggested that 25 percent of them be singles, 20 percent be pairs of doubles with an adjoining door, and 35 percent be suites. The remaining 20 percent would be apartment-style with a small kitchen and laundry area.

The hotel would be called “The Haven at Grand Park.”

The city is prioritizing projects based on financial risk, quality of the product, experience of the development team and ability to complete the project by July 15, 2016, which is considered the peak of the summer season at the 400-acre sports campus.

“The Byrd proposal satisfied the four criteria the most at this point in time,” Burtron said.

The city will maintain ownership of the land and lease it to the future hotel company. Officials are negotiating whether the company will have to pay for the property.

Burtron said the city wants to maintain leverage over the land in the long term, given its proximity to the indoor soccer facility and presence within the park boundaries.

“That gives the city some participation and influence over the quality of the product and operation of the product,” Burtron said. “If it was across the street, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

He specified that the city will not be building or maintaining the hotel. It is only providing the land. No other financial incentives have been offered or discussed.

City officials are expecting the need for hotel rooms to increase when the indoor soccer facility and Jonathan Byrd’s Fieldhouse projects are complete next year.

Grand Park has already attracted thousands of overnight visitors to Westfield, but there is only one hotel in the city now. That means players, coaches and spectators have had to stay in hotels in surrounding Hamilton County cities. Some out-of-towners have stayed as far away as Kokomo and Lafayette.

A 153-room Cambria Suites is under construction on 186th Street to the east of Grand Park Boulevard, but it's not expected to open for a year.

Plans have also been filed for a development near the southwest corner of U.S. 31 and State Road 32 that includes space for a four-story hotel, but no specific project has been announced yet.

Private hotel developers have remained hesitant to jump into Westfield because of the low weekday demand, but industry experts have said the indoor facilities could increase interest because they will likely lead to year-round visits to the park.

“They’re still somewhat slow to react,” Burtron said about private hotel developers.

The Westfield City Council on Monday rezoned the land for the hotel. Burtron said he expects the council to transfer ownership of the property to the redevelopment commission in the near future. He said a final decision on the proposals will be made soon.

“We’re trying to expedite it for that July delivery,” Burtron said.

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